By What Are We Justified?

Man at sunset

The concept of justification is of major importance in the gospel. But what does it mean to be justified? Thayer defines the word as declaring or pronouncing one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.

In the New Testament, justification is about God recognizing us as being righteous or right before Him. This divine recognition is key. We are not righteous simply by declaring ourselves to be righteous. We may claim it, but that does not make it so. How then can we be justified? The New Testament mentions several things by which we are justified. We will notice them in this article.
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Lord Willing

To-do list

Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’ But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:13-17).

The passage above is often cited to emphasize the uncertainty and brevity of life. It also teaches us the importance of remembering our dependence upon God (“If the Lord wills…”). In this article, we are going to consider four lessons from this passage. Forgetting these lessons will always lead us into sin. We will notice how that happens.
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The Real Pharisees (Part 4): The Pharisees Were Close-Minded

The Real Pharisees

Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, ‘What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation’” (John 11:45-48).

There are several examples in the New Testament of the Pharisees having minds that were closed to the truth. They already decided what they wanted to believe and refused to consider anything that might challenge their preconceived notions. Their response to the raising of Lazarus from the dead may be the clearest of these examples.
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Always Learning, But Never Coming to Know the Truth

Bible study with coffee

Paul warned Timothy of those who were “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). How is it possible for one to continue to progress in his learning but never come to know the truth of God’s word? There are three ways this can happen. Any one of these, or a combination of the three, will prevent someone from coming to know the truth.
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Our Adequacy Is From God

Man Above the Clouds

There are times in life when every one of us, no matter who are are, feels inadequate. We might feel incapable of doing what we need (or think we need) to do. We might feel as though what we are doing is insignificant. We might feel as if we are unimportant to the world and to those around us.

However, we should not feel this way, especially as Christians, even though it may be tempting at times. Why should we not feel inadequate? Paul explained that “our adequacy [sufficiency, KJV] is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Consider the text:
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Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Sermon on the Mount (Part 1): A Blessed Life

Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with statements that are commonly called the Beatitudes. In these verses, He described those who were blessed. This word does not merely mean that one is happy. Rather, to be blessed means to be approved of God. This results in true joy that surpasses the temporary moments of “happiness” in this life. This is particularly important because, as we will see, there will be times when those who are “blessed” are those who are suffering. Let us consider the Beatitudes and see how the life of a disciple is a blessed life.
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The New Ancient Paths

Path

Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; and you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

The passage above has been rightly used by brethren to emphasize the need to go back to the word of God for our standard rather than following after something “new” that has been invented in the mind of man. We are to “retain the standard of sound words” which has been preached by the apostles (2 Timothy 1:13).

However, we should not confuse “the ancient paths” with what we have always thought, heard, or been taught. They are not always the same thing. In other words, the word of God is true whether we have heard it before or not. The Biblical teaching on any given issue is right, even if we have never previously considered it. God’s word is perfect (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25); man is not (Romans 3:23). Therefore, any conflict between what the Bible says and what man says can be easily resolved – the Bible is always right. Paul wrote, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).
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